Walking through museums in unfamiliar cities and countries can give you a glimpse into its history and culture. I visited a different museum almost everyday when I was in Rome and Lisbon and yet there were so many that I didn’t see. Museums are where I spent most of my time, but I don’t feel that I adequately appreciated them. There is such beauty in the relics of our past.
The Vatican Museum requires a fun walk. After St. Peter’s Basilica, I walked toward the Vatican Museum. To get there, you have to walk around Vatican City, which is a fortified village with stone walls. On the walk you will most likely be distracted by countless vendors and street performers, but I didn’t stop as I was focused on my destination.
The Vatican Museum is large and you would be wise to follow a map to get around to different sections. However, I tend to wander around in museums, so the map remained in my hand until I realized that I had walked through the same section twice. The first photo is taken during one of the times I got stuck behind a tourist group from China. There were probably at least 20-25 people in this group, which made it practically impossible to get through them without causing a big distraction as their guide is talking.
I couldn’t understand the language their guide was speaking, but I ended up standing there silently listening. The guide was most likely explaining the history of a painting, but there are so many things that a painting can say that doesn’t require an explanation. I contemplated this for a few moments. Then, finally, at last! A spot opened up to get through and I took it!
Here are some of the pieces of art:
Contemporary Art Museum of Belem:
Even though Rome has an incredible history in art, I have to admit that Lisbon was my favorite place for art. Lisbon contains a very controversial art museum in the Belem district, the Contemporary Art Museum of Belem. Expect to see a lot “living” art. This art contained live sounds and video. I particularly remember one piece of live art that contained audio of a lady screaming along with some disturbing imagery. A fairly famous piece of art is two dummies hanging with nooses around their necks. In the U.S., this would definitely be an 18 and over museum. The photos I attached are of the tamed art, but I think are interesting nonetheless.
National Museum of Ancient Art:
The National Museum of Ancient Art in Lisbon was interesting and contained a lot of well-known art. Most people take the tram here because it is a bit of a walk from the city center. I actually got lost on my way there due to my confusion in reading the map. It doesn’t stand out like a lot of popular sites do and kind of just appears as you are walking down a narrow street. But don’t hurry off once you are done in the museum. There is a very pretty courtyard out the back and then as you leave the museum there is a beautiful view to the water followed by a unique stairway down to the main road.
I’ve always loved museums. They make me feel calm and peaceful. I think it has something to do with being surrounded by so much history. These things were created by people who have not been living for centuries, but yet a piece of them was projected into the future to stand before me at this very moment. Will anybody ever look at this painting in exactly the same way I am now? No, probably not. The painting itself remains the same, but in each person’s memory it is different.